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SIOUX FALLS -- Jeff Bertus and the Avon Pirates handed Hanson its first loss in more than a year Friday afternoon. Bertus scored all four of the Pirates' touchdowns and had 156 rushing yards, including a 67-yard punt return that helped put his team up by 16 less than five minutes into the game. The Pirates grabbed their first win of the year in their season-opening game 30-0 over the Beavers -- who went undefeated in 2008 on their way to a 9B state title -- Friday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
The young, aggressive Mitchell volleyball team never panicked. The Kernels rebounded after a first-set loss to take the next three sets and defeat Huron 3-1 in the team's home opener held in the Mitchell High School gymnasium Tuesday night. It wasn't quite that easy, however. The Kernels found themselves down in each set and had to claw back to grab their second win of the early season. Scores of the match were 16-25, 26-24, 25-20 and 26-24. "We put ourselves in a hole in every set," Mitchell head coach Deb Thill said.
It seems like his name is going to fit perfectly. His paws are growing as fast as flowers on Miracle-Gro, and his food intake seems to double daily. An eight-week-old black lab, Bear is my new hunting dog. He's clumsy. He chews on everything -- mainly my four-year-old rat terrier Lilly. Poor girl. He is dominant like a bear. I wake up way earlier than I should most mornings to let him outside and find he's already done his business inside his kennel. He's learning, I continue to tell myself. Tuesday, my wife and I went to buy him food and ourselves some groceries.
The Mitchell Christian volleyball team won one game in 2007, so last year's five wins was a substantial improvement. Although the team had to deal with a coaching change at the beginning of last year, and will have to do so again this season, there will be some consistency to look toward. New head coach Heather Fenske has been the assistant for the Eagle volleyball team for the past two seasons. She decided to take the job when former head coach Tracy Jeltema moved back to her home state of Iowa to teach. "I took some time to think about it and pray about it," Fenske said.
FORESTBURG -- There's no such thing as opening-week jitters for Sanborn Central's Lukas VanLaecken. To start his junior year, VanLaecken rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns against Sunshine Bible Academy. The start to his senior season came with better results. Sunshine Bible Academy watched VanLaecken cruise up and down the field for 290 yards on 32 carries for four touchdowns in a 40-16 victory Friday night.
The 15th annual Tour de Corn was held Saturday in Mitchell with a record turnout. Event coordinator Dana Clark said there were 251 riders, and more than half of those riders were walk-up riders the day of the race. "Every year we grow and have excellent feed back," Clark said. "The word of mouth is phenomenal." Last year the Tour de Corn raised about $7,500, which was donated to the city of Mitchell to help fund the construction of bike trails around the city.
SALEM -- With new teams, growing pains are usually inevitable. Trailing by three and faced with a crucial third and five in Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian territory, the newly co-oped McCook Central Montrose team took too long to get to the line of scrimmage, and a delay of game penalty was called. The Fighting Cougars then had an incomplete pass on third and 10 and a no gain rush on fourth down. "There's some miscommunication among the players right now," McCook Central/Montrose head coach Ryan Evans said.
The Mitchell volleyball team's 2008 season was a mirror opposite of what head coach Deb Thill would have liked it to be. The Kernels started the year off with a five-game win streak -- matching the total victories in 2007 -- and in the fourth game of the season beat Pierre, which took second in the state tournament. Mitchell then lost six in a row, finished the season 9-13 and was knocked from the playoffs in the second round. "We had to make some major adjustments when Ashley Dorale went down (with a knee injury)," Thill said.
A number of challenges face the Mitchell High School girls' tennis team this season. Kernels' head coach Gayle Klein lost three major-contributing seniors to graduation from last year's squad, forcing her to revamp all three doubles teams and nearly the entire singles lineup. The only spot that will be in line with last year is the No. 1 singles spot where junior Angie Lorenzen has been since her freshman year. Lorenzen, fellow junior Megan Solberg, sophomore Kendra Cersosimo Haley Bathke -- the team's only senior -- are the four returners for the Kernels.
Lower Brule native Lou Mendoza shot under par in both rounds of the SDGA Senior Championship held over the weekend at Lakeview Golf Course. The senior championship had 132 golfers ages 55 and older sign up for the two-day stroke play tournament. Mendoza was the only golfer to shoot in the red both days, winning his first-ever SDGA event with an overall score of 137. "I putted really well today," Mendoza said.